Although Asmahan El Zein's nationality is German, she should rather be seen as a true cosmopolitan, for she feels at home in many different cultures.


She originally studied interior and stage design in Germany and Spain and received education in the art of painting. After some ballet lessons as a teenager, Asmahan focused on her studies in fine arts and spent many years working as assistant set-designer for Wolf E. Lange at various theatres in Germany and Europe where she got to know artists from many different fields.

Yet, during her time in Spain (mainly in Madrid) Asmahan made contact with the art of Flamenco and the fever of multicultural, Spanish-oriental dancing had taken a hold on her. After a brief and passionate flirtation with Flamenco, Asmahan took up her oriental challenge. A visit at a try-out lesson on belly dancing laid the foundations for her career in oriental dance. She achieved a well-founded knowledge of classic Raks Sharki and added modern influences like Pop, Jazz and Salsa to her repertory. Since she was already familiar with instruments and rhythms from different cultures from her childhood due to her father, Rolf Irle, an ethnologist specializing in the musical aspects of his profession, she easily catches the feeling of different kinds of music. Her father owns one of the largest collections of Oriental musical instruments in the world so that she could learn a lot from him.

In the year 2000 the festival "World of Orient", a festival for Middle Eastern Dance, Music and Culture was founded because she felt that something had to be done for the exchange of the European and Arabian cultures.

From then on, the "World of Orient" took place annually in the beginning of March, offering two evening shows, more than 30 workshops in different disciplines of Middle Eastern dance and music as well as a two-days fair with Oriental costumes, handicraft, music, accessories, instruments and lifestyle. In May 2008, Asmahan organised the first International Tribal & Worlddance Festival Hanover with many guests from Germany and from abroad, various workshops and two tribal shows.